Reviewing the new Santinelli / Nidek LE-700
It looks like Nidek and Santinelli are at it again with the release of the new LE-700. But will the new LE-700 hurt them or help them? I have been in the optical industry for about 17 years now, 5 of them with Santinelli. I always loved it when Santinelli released a new machine. I worked for Santinelli during the release of the LEX1000, LE1000, ME1200 and the ME900. The LEX1000 had its troubles but after about a year Nidek was able to overcome most of the issues. The LE1000 is flawless and is by far my favorite machine in its current line up. The ME1200 comes in at a close 2nd but Nidek has been challenged with issues that most don’t know about but once owned you become very familiar with the few issues and glitches. Honestly the ME900 does not really fit well into the lineup but catches the eyes of the previous ME1000 customers.
Nidek announced on there website on June 25th 2013 the upcoming release of the newest machine the LE-700. This machine appears to be an all-in-one machine which Nidek has NEVER done before. In Fact most companies that have had this systems have either gone away with it like the Briot Accura. Companies offer such system at a very low price to get people that have never edged before and get into a new budget machine. Will this hurt Santinelli?
I have heard a few rumors regarding the future release of this edger. If Santinelli gets this machine which is to be expected, I was told that it would help the reps to have that low budget machine in their arsenal but will it or will it change the consumers from buying the LE1000? Coming in at $30,500 for an edger that safety bevels and grooves with just a basic blocker is about $5000-$10,000 more than all of the other edgers out there. Don’t get me wrong — I think its worth every penny but to bring in an edger that meets those price needs, how do you convince to the consumer that they need to spend that extra money for the LE1000 system? The second rumor I have heard is more recent. Santinelli will not be getting this system and Nidek themselves will be selling this system. Its not out of the question, Marco sells all of the Nidek optometric equipment but Nidek did not give Marco the fundus camera to sell, Nidek sells it direct themselves. So who will sell the new LE-700? I am assuming it will be released at VEW 2013. With Santinelli having their national meeting next week I am sure I’ll hear something more about it then!
So lets take a look at the edger from the brochure.
Simple, built-in intelligent blocker: Well Nidek why can’t you give us bigger touch screens like everyone else has? From the look of the picture the 3 feet are stationary and not articulating like the ICE-mini, this can cause an issue with those high wrap lenses or high prism lenses. It doesn’t appear that there is a top clamp which will be a step back for Nidek, all the blockers I can ever recall all have top clamps except the ICE9000 which they stopped making 7 years ago, why bring back that technology? The blocks appear to be a new smaller block like the old style, again why go backwards? The Pliable block system works perfect! It appears the LE-700 has gone buttonless this will be a first but that just means more touching the screen so it may go out faster.
“Tracer-free” tracing technology: Wait no tracer?? Seems like I had a conversation with a higher up person in development with Santinelli years ago and he said Nidek was always cautious with releasing the “ISI Function” (integrated shape imager) because it was never really accurate. infact the last time I used it on the ICE1000 it still didn’t work correctly but now the new LE-700 will be imaging shape accurately? I am kinda lost for words… I mean how will it measure base curves for accurate “3-D” edging? Oh wait, Frame Tracer Optional…. so stupid! The new “redesigned” LMU and RMU all in one unit is smart. Nidek released the RMU unit in the ME1200 and has been a little bit of an issue so this looks like the LMU and RMU are one now. Oh look, no more overcharging for LMU tips because they appear to be metel.
Operator-oriented usability: Universal design icons? You’ve tried this before but atleast you labeled them this time. Nidek’s first stab at this was with the LEX1000 and failed badly. They didn’t label anything just pictures. I still see LEX1000’s out there and the operators have all had to label them. The wizard operation means this machine may not be for past Santinelli users. It leads you step-by-step through the entire process. I think it means only first timers will like this machine.
Impressive, reliable edging: I am not really impressed but reliable? We’ll have to see how cheap they make it. If this machine is priced like I am expecting approx $20,000 I would spend the extra money on a LE1000S with an Ice Mini blocker, on sale you can get them for right around $28,000, MSP is $36,500.
Saves time, space and the earth: The on-screen tab for “next job” processing is nice. The footprint is just a few inches wider and taller than the LE1000 but people will still have the excuse “they don’t have room”.
It will be interested to see more about this edger but for now I leave you this. I will keep you updated as I get more information regarding the new LE-700.